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Lessons from Caregivers with Famous Faces

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Here are some lessons learned from some really smart caregivers: Form a partnership with your doctors. If you don’t stop and take care of you, you won’t be good for anybody. Be proactive—don’t treat your loved one’s pain lightly. BE THERE. When there is support, there is hope. The caregivers dispelling this advice are not degreed professionals. Their names are (in order of advice given) Barry Manilow, Montel Williams, Larry King and Héctor Elizondo.

I actually have my sister Linda to thank for the opportunity to interview these and many other caregivers with famous faces over the past two decades. In 1995, when Today’s Caregiver first rolled off the presses, she started lobbying for us to include celebrity cover interviews in each issue. This is something that had never been done before and frankly, I thought it was a terrible idea. I was convinced that family caregivers would react negatively to stories about the rich and famous caring for their loved ones. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Finally, in the third issue of the magazine, we ran our first celebrity cover interview and the responses were absolutely tremendous—a fact she never lets me forget.

Our new book, Caregiving Ties That Bind, includes many of these interviews that, for the very first time, posed personal caregiving questions to a wide range of world-renowned celebrities and  previously untold behind the scenes stories.

The title, Caregiving Ties That Bind, refers to the fact that family caregiving is truly what binds us all together, no matter if you are working on a farm in Iowa, in a shop in Cleveland or are a world famous celebrity.  The stories in the book, as well those of the tens of thousands of caregivers we have met over the years, have convinced me that although every caregiving situation is different, the love, concern and commitment to our loved ones’ care are what we all share as family caregivers.

I believe that the interviews have been a refreshing change for these celebrities from the traditional interview tours, where they talk about their latest movie or album to a vast array of media outlets. These interviews about their own family caregiving have allowed them to step out from behind the persona and share personal stories about themselves and their loved ones.  


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